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Gaming interfaces have come a long way since the early days of simple polygons, pixels, and two buttoned joysticks. Now users have many options of interacting with games. From Nintendo’s motion controller and touch screen devices, Microsoft’s Project Natal (which allows the user to use their body as a controller), and now thanks to a group of inventors from the University of Pennsylvania; we may have the next leap in gaming technology called The Tactile Gaming Vest.
Created by grad student Saurabh Palan and some fellow engineers, the TGV allows players of shooters like "Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2" to feel the sensation of being shot whenever they are blasted in-game... as if we needed more incentive to camp.
When Palam first pitched the idea behind the vest, he never would have thought that it could be implemented with games. Originally the vest was created to enhance the viewing of 3D movies, but with some unexpected inspiration from an unlikely source, he found a new venue to explore.
"I am not a hardcore gamer," Palan said. "I am a roboticist. When I started with [the TGV], I pitched the idea for making a vest for a movie-watching experience inspired by Disney's 4D motion pictures screened at various adventure parks. However, it seems to be an easier task to have a gaming application to test the hardware."
Though it's easy to imagine one of the big three console manufacturers getting behind the TGV, Palan has had no luck so far getting their attention. "I tried to contact Microsoft," he explained. "I met a person at a Microsoft conference but I haven't heard anything back yet. I would be glad to get in touch with the right person, but my efforts to do so have not yielded any results."
"I believe that it will not be more than two years from now that such devices will be common among gamers," Palan said.
The future may just be around the corner, if Palam gets his way. But in the mean while we’ll just have to wait and see how gaming technology will advance. One day soon we may all know the sensation of being shot by little racist children on Xbox Live.